I’ve been putting my own kalendar together. I just can’t swallow “Holy Women, Holy Men” because I have some fundamental disagreements with its criteria, premises, and theology. Neither can I use the current Roman kalendar as it contains far too many who—I’m sure are quite wonderful and holy people but—aren’t part of my heritage and theological landscape being post-Reformation. (We won’t even get started on John of Capistrano being venerated as a saint…)
As the BCP gives perfect freedom in identifying and celebrating Days of Optional Observance and the Roman documents on the kalendar discuss celebrating those with whom you have an affinity, I figure I’m well within my rights as a Prayer Book Catholic to do just that…
My particular kalendar can be characterized as the 3M kalendar as, in looking over it, it seems to be dominated by mystics, martyrs, and Mary. (Well, ok, it could be the 4M because there are an awful lot of medievals too.)
The mystics (most of whom are also monastics) and Mary are fairly self-explanatory. Martyrs, though, are a key category for me. There are two main reasons for this.
1. It reminds me that the faith is something worth dying for and that there are those who have exemplified this in their flesh. Sometimes we treat the faith, theology, “church matters” like some kind of game. As we do so we dishonor the martyrs who took this stuff seriously enough to make the ultimate witness. (That having been said, I think there were some martyrs who were rather careless or heedless in their martyrdom, but I wasn’t there either…)
2. It gives me a healthy historical perspective on our own time. I was reminded of this by Anastasia’s post on Republicans for Jesus. I honestly have no patience for Americans who proclaim how Christianity is under persecution here. There are places in the world now—let alone historically—where you can be pulled from your house in the night and shot or have your church and house bombed simply for being a Christian. That’s persecution. Having your parents turn you in to the government for execution—that’s persecution. Kerfuffles about mangers on public property or crucifixes in classrooms are not even on my persecution radar.